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Safe Travel Advice for Passengers as Hospitality Begins to Open its Doors

If all goes well, from 17th May 2021, we’ll all be able to start enjoying a meal and a drink indoors, as well as look forward to going to the cinema, taking the kids to indoor play and staying a night or two in a hotel. Larger indoor events will also be back on the agenda, and the wedding guest allowance will rise to 30. Exciting times ahead, but of course, the advice is never to get complacent, and to always stay safe.

With this in mind, if you are planning on using a taxi service to get you to wherever you want to be after 17th May, it’s important that you follow the appropriate advice for passengers, and are aware of the rules that your taxi company and driver should be following.

COVID-Safe Travel

Passenger safety in taxis and private hire vehicles

For those travelling by taxi, it is currently not permitted to share a taxi or private hire vehicle with anyone from outside your household or support bubble, other than of course the driver. This is unless the journey is made for an exempt reason. This could be, for example, if you are sharing the vehicle as part of your work.

This guidance applies even if you have had the COVID-19 vaccination.

Passengers are also currently required to wear a face covering in a taxi or private hire vehicle, unless they are exempt. Drivers are within their rights to refuse passengers who are not wearing a face covering and who are not exempt, although there is no legal requirement to provide proof of exemption.

It is important that passengers always follow the advice of the taxi operator and driver. They may make specific requests, such a sitting in the back left hand seat if travelling alone. These measures will have been put in place for everyone’s safety, so do take heed.

Where possible, opt for contactless payment, or pay online in advance. Most taxi operators will have systems in place now for cashless payments.

When you are getting in and out of the vehicle, and whilst travelling, always be mindful of the surfaces you touch, and take care not to touch your face. If you need to cough or sneeze, be sure to cover your mouth and nose.

Finally, once you’ve reached your destination, wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds. If this isn’t possible, sanitise as soon as possible.

You can read more bout safer travel guidance for passengers in private cars and other vehicles here on the government website.

Taxi operator and driver requirements for a COVID-safe journey

Risk assessment

Taxi operators and drivers are required to carry out a risk assessment so that they are clear on the specific risks of carrying passengers during the pandemic. Whilst they are not required to make a written statement, some will have done so.

Screens

Some private hire companies have been fitting screens in vehicles to separate drivers from their passengers. This is not a legal requirement, and the decision to do so is down to the individual operator and the local licensing authority.

Symptoms

Drivers are advised to download and use the NHS COVID-19 app to help control the spread of the virus. They are also required to ask passengers whether they have any coronavirus symptoms such as a fever, new cough or loss of smell or taste, and whether they have had a positive coronavirus test in the past ten days. Drivers are within their rights to refuse passengers who answer positively to either question.

Hygiene

Advice for drivers on hygiene is to wash or sanitise hands should they come into contact with a passenger or their luggage, both before and after contact. Support should continue to be provided to disabled passengers to help them safely enter and exit the vehicle, and to assist with luggage or mobility aids.

Face coverings

Drivers are required to wear face coverings whilst inside the vehicle. If you are expecting to be able to identify your driver, they should show their face whilst socially distancing. Where necessary, drivers are permitted to remove their face coverings in order to communicate with passengers who are hard of hearing.

Fresh air

You will find that private hire drivers will keep their windows open or use the vents of the car so that fresh air is brought in from outside. They are advised not to use the recirculated air option.

Cleaning

Between journeys, taxi drivers are required to clean those parts of the vehicle that they or their passengers have touched. This includes the likes of door handles, seat belts, protective screens and payment devices. They are also advised to ventilate the vehicle for at least five minutes, and wash or sanitise their hands.

This government guidance provides more information regarding the requirements set out for private hire operators and taxi drivers.

ZedCarZ: Your COVID-Safe Taxi Awaits

Private Minicab/Taxi

At ZedCarZ, we are totally dedicated to passenger safety, and have been for the duration of the pandemic. We have a number of measures in place to ensure passenger and driver safety, and to make certain that we are working within the guidelines set out by the government.

If you are planning to get out and about after 17th May, perhaps to the theatre, a concert or a sporting event, or you are keen to get out for a meal or a drink with friends and would like to book a safe, COVID-secure ride, you are welcome to get in touch.

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